The pleasures and pains, the gratifications and frustrations of parenthood are existential components in the adult life of humans. In spite of the ubiquity of its problems, the psychology of parenthood has not been studied systematically. Science progresses slowly. Generations of scientists labor arduously to build the foundation for an insight that a genius formulated long years before. I refer here to a statement of Darwin: “The feeling of pleasure from society is probably an extension of the parental or filial affections, since the social instinct seems to be developed by the young
remaining for a long time with their parents” (p. 6). It is obvious that Darwin, the naturalist, arrived at this insight from innumerable, seemingly unrelated observations. Today the verity of this generalization appears evident to students of behavior, whether the objects of observation are human, subhuman mammalians, or the lower levels of the evolutionary scale.